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Defense Carries K-State Past UAlbany, 71-43

K-State Athletics ReleaseDecember 2, 2021

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State once again used its defense to stifle an opponent at Bramlage Coliseum, as the Wildcats held UAlbany to 31.5 percent shooting, including just 5.6 percent from 3-point range, en route to a 71-43 win over the Great Danes on Wednesday night.

Combined with 42 allowed to North Dakota on Sunday, the Wildcats (4-2) have now held consecutive opponents under 50 points for the first time since December 2015, while the 85 combined points in the last two games are the fewest since holding Lamar (55) and Alabama-Huntsville (26) to 81 combined points on Nov. 12-13, 2012.

The Great Danes (1-6), which hit on their first 3-point field goal before missing their final 17 attempts, were held to the second-lowest 3-point field goal percentage by an opponent in school history and the lowest since Oklahoma connected on a school-record low 4.8 percent (1-of-21) on Jan. 21, 1993.

K-State has now held 29 opponents to 50 or less under head coach Bruce Weber, while the Wildcats moved to 96-10 all-time under Weber when holding an opponent to 60 points or less.

Offensively, the Wildcats did most of their damage from beyond the arc, knocking down a season-high 10 3-point field goals, including 5 from sophomore Nijel Pack, who finished with a game-high 17 points. Pack, who leads the Big 12 in 3-point field goals per game (3.0) and is second in 3-point field goal percentage (48.6), has now hit on 3 or more 3-pointers in 15 of his 30 career games. He has now led the team in scoring in 4 of 6 games this season.

Pack was joined in double figures by fifth-year senior Mark Smith and sophomore Selton Miguel, who each registered double-doubles. It marked the first time a pair of Wildcats each collected double-doubles in the same game since March 2014. Smith, who posted his second consecutive double-double and the third of his career, finished with 14 points on 4-of-7 field goals, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, to go with a career-tying 10 rebounds. Miguel earned his first double-double with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting and a career-best 10 boards.

Only one player scored in double figures for the Great Danes, as fifth-year senior Dre Perry led the way with 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting with 6 rebounds and a pair of blocks.

KEY STRETCH(ES)

K-State jumped out to a quick start, as sophomore Nijel Pack connected on consecutive 3-pointers to help propel the Wildcats ahead in the early going, including 11-7 after a pair of free throws by sophomore Selton Miguel.

UAlbany forced K-State to get sloppy on offense, forcing the Wildcats into bad shots and turnovers to take a 13-11 lead on a jumper by freshman Justin Neely at the 10:36 mark.

A 3-pointer by Miguel helped K-State regain the lead at 15-13 with 9:24 before halftime then a pair of free throws by senior Mark Smith extended it to 17-13 less than a minute later. However, the Great Danes responded with back-to-back baskets to tie it up at 17-all at the 6:35 mark.

A 3-pointer by Markquis Nowell seemed to ignite the K-State offense, as the Wildcats strung together 11 consecutive points to take a 28-17 lead with 2:06 to play. Four players scored in the stretch, including a layup and dunk by junior Kaosi Ezeagu, as the team carried a 29-20 lead into the break.

K-State was able to get things going from long range to start the second half, as the Wildcats connected on 3-pointers on their first 3 possessions, including back-to-back by Smith, to push the lead to 38-22 and force a timeout by the Great Danes at the 16:35 mark. The pair of triples seemed to get Smith going offensively, as he scored on the next two possessions, including a tip dunk that extended the lead to 42-24 with just under 15 to play.

The Wildcats pushed the lead to 23 (52-29) after a 10-2 run that was started by a Pack 3-pointer. Sophomore Davion Bradford had a pair of dunks in the run, while Nowell added his second 3-pointer.

After UAlbany scored on back-to-back possessions, K-State responded by scoring 12 of the next 16 points to push the lead to 64-37 after a fifth 3-pointer by Pack with 6:04 remaining.

The lead ballooned to as many as 28 (68-40) after a dunk by senior Mike McGuirl with 2:30 to play.

PLAYER(S) OF THE GAME

Sophomore Nijel Pack led the Wildcats in scoring for the fourth time in 6 games with a game-high 17 points on 6-of-11 field goals, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range. He has now scored in double figures all 6 games.

Senior Mark Smith collected a double-double for the second consecutive game and the third time in his career with 14 points and a game-tying 10 rebounds.

Sophomore Selton Miguel posted his first career double-double with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting with a career-tying 10 rebounds and a team-high 3 assists om 25 minutes.

STAT OF THE GAME

5.6 – K-State held UAlbany to just 5.6 percent (1-of-18) shooting from 3-point range, as the Great Danes made their first 3-pointer before missing their last 17 attempts. It is the second lowest 3-point field goal percentage by an opponent in school history and the lowest since 1993.

IN THEIR WORDS

K-State Head Coach Bruce Weber

On the game…

“Well, we knew as a staff it was going to be harder (game) than North Dakota. One they’ve got some older players, they’re more athletic. They really play hard, to their press, to their traps, to their zone and it’s great for us because we haven’t faced that. Obviously, it wasn’t a stellar first half. The turnovers, just some of them were unforced. You don’t catch the ball, you step out of bounds twice, Selton (Miguel) gets the rebound and throws it in the back court. Those are five, six possessions that if you cut those down the way we’ve shot the ball lately, you’re hoping to add 8-10 points on it. Now it’s a whole different game at halftime. So, we cut the turnovers down in the second half to only three in the first 16 minutes and we got good looks. Obviously a double-double for him (Mark Smith). He led us on the play hard in 21 minutes. Selton (Miguel) coming off the injury and didn’t play, he gets a double-double. And then obviously Nijel’s (Pack) just consistent. We’ve got to find ways to get him shots, get him open shots. That’s why it helps when Markquis (Nowell) is in there and Selton (Miguel). We’ve got other people to deliver. So, defense has been good, obviously from a year ago, there’s no comparison. But now we’ve got to see if we can do it against upper level teams. Wichita State just won at Oklahoma State tonight. They find ways to win games. They grind them out, they’re tough. It’s going to be a great challenge for us and hopefully we’ve made some improvements since Kansas City.”

 

BEYOND THE BOXSCORE

  • K-State has now won 7 straight non-conference games at Bramlage Coliseum dating back to last season, including 3 in a row to start the 2021-22 season.
  • K-State is now 119-13 in non-conference play at home dating back to 2006-07, including 110-11 at Bramlage Coliseum.
  • This was the first meeting between K-State and UAlbany and just the third against a team from the America East (Vermont in 2007 and UMBC in 2018).
  • K-State is now 397-137 (.742) all-time at Bramlage Coliseum, including 258-79 (.763) since 2001-02.
  • K-State used a starting lineup of sophomore Nijel Pack, senior Mike McGuirl, fifth-year senior Mark Smith, sophomore Ismael (Ish) Massoud and junior Kaosi Ezeagu… This marked the third time using this lineup this season and the second straight game… Ezeagu, Massoud, Pack and Smith have each started the first 6 games… Pack has now started in all 30 games in his K-State career… Ezeagu earned a start in his 12th career game at K-State… Massoud now has 14 starts in his college career… Smith now has 86 starts in his college career.
  • Three Wildcats – freshman Maximus Edwards, sophomore Seryee Lewis and junior Carlton Linguard, Jr. – did not play due to injury… Lewis is out for the season, while Edwards is out for an extended time… Linguard continues to be day-to-day.

Team Notes

  • K-State scored 71 points on 46.4 percent shooting (26-of-56), including 38.5 percent (10-of-26) from 3-point range, and connected on 69.2 percent (9-of-13) from the free throw line… The Wildcats were steady throughout the game, hitting on 45 percent or better in each half.
  • The Wildcats had 15 assists on 26 made field goals, including 2 or more by six different players.
  • K-State hit on a season-high 10 3-point field goals… It marked the first time that the Wildcats have hit at least 10 3-pointers in game since the Texas A&M game on Jan. 30, 2021.
  • At least three players have scored in double figures in all 6 games this season.
  • K-State held UAlbany to a season-low 43 points on 31.5 percent (17-of-54) shooting, including just 5.6 percent (1-of-18) from 3-point range… It was the second-lowest 3-point field goal percentage by an opponent in school history and the lowest since Oklahoma hit on 4.8 percent (1-of-21) on Jan. 21, 1993.
  • K-State held consecutive opponents under 50 points for the first time since games against North Dakota (49) and Saint Louis (47) on Dec. 22 and 29, 2015… The 85 combined points allowed in the last 2 games is the fewest in consecutive games since holding Lamar (55) and Alabama-Huntsville (26) to 81 combined points on Nov. 12 and 13, 2012.
  • The Wildcats have now held 29 opponents to less than 50 points in the Bruce Weber era… The team is now 96-10 under Weber when holding an opponent to 60 points or less.
  • K-State grabbed a season-high 48 rebounds, including a season-best 15 offensive boards.
  • K-State scored a season-low 14 points off just 12 turnovers by UAlbany.
  • K-State led at the half for the fourth time this season, using its defense to hold UAlbany to just 25 percent (7-of-28) shooting, including 11.1 percent (1-of-9) from 3-point range, to take a 29-20 advantage into the break… Sophomore Nijel Pack led all scorers with 8 points, while fellow sophomore Selton Miguel added 6 points and 6 rebounds.

Player Notes

  • Sophomore Nijel Pack registered double-digit points for the sixth consecutive game with 17 points on 6-of-11 field goals, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range, to go with a season-high 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal in 31 minutes of action… He has now led the Wildcats in scoring in 15 career games, including 4 times this season… It marked his 15th career game with at least 3 treys… He has now scored in double figures in 22 career games.
  • Senior Mark Smith totaled his second consecutive double-double and the third of his career with 14 points on 4-of-7 field goals, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, to go with a game-tying and career-tying 10 rebounds in 21 minutes… He also added 2 assists and a block.
  • Sophomore Selton Miguel collected his first career double-double with 12 points on 4-of-8 field goals and a career-high 10 rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench.

WHAT’S NEXT

K-State faces yet another challenging stretch beginning on Sunday afternoon, as the Wildcats travel to Wichita, Kansas to take on in-state rival Wichita State (6-1) for the first time since 2003 at INTRUST Bank Arena. The game will air nationally on ESPNU at 5 p.m., CT.

How to follow the ‘Cats: For complete information on K-State men’s basketball, visit www.kstatesports.com and follow the team’s social media channels on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Copyright © Meridian Media, 2022. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Meridian Media’s express consent.

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